Tips, Tricks, and Rules for Delivering Internationally

As the saying goes, all is fair in love and war…perhaps the same could be true in email marketing?

We live in a time where marketers are fighting for the attention of their customers while waging a war against criminals abusing their brand. Unfortunately, the collateral damage from this war is that one in five of your emails could be landing in the junk folder. That’s a staggering 20 perccent of each campaign.

To stop your email from becoming collateral damage you need to wave the white flag, hold up your hands, and show that you’re not dangerous.

The basic treaty that exists between marketers and mailbox providers applies globally and focuses on four key areas: data quality, sender reputation, authentication, and subscriber engagement. Let’s take a look at these:

Data Quality:

  • How do you acquire subscribers?
    • Organic
      • Generally more engaged with your program
      • Less likely to complain because they have a direct relationship with you
    • Third Party
      • Collected by an entity other than yourself
      • Unless there is explicit permission to receive email from you, they’re more likely to generate complaints 
  • How do you cleanse your data?

Sender Reputation:

Authentication:

Subscriber engagement:
Are your subscribers positively interacting with your email by opening, clicking, replying, archiving, and/or marking it as NOT junk when it’s in the spam folder? Or are they deleting it without reading or marking it as junk? Make sure that your messages are designed to engage by:

Additional international considerations

Of course, local mailbox providers also reserve the right to amend the treaty and add their own clauses. This presents a couple more things to consider when mailing internationally:

Language requirements:
Do you send email using the preferred language of the recipient? The same email sent in different languages can achieve different inbox placement rates. Consider designing different content reflecting the preferred language of your recipients.

  • Brazil
    • Email marketing campaigns are often delivered to the “spam” folder, not because they’re spam but because subscribers use the spam folder to store promotional emails.
    • Consider encouraging subscribers to whitelist your sending domain or move the email to their inbox to improve your chances of hitting the inbox.
  • France
    • You might need to reduce your sending speed to French mailbox providers to get your mail accepted
    • Consent is a must for emailing in this region.
  • China
    • Mailbox providers can be hard to deal with.Sending from local servers or having a local presence can help.
    • Mailbox providers can be very strict with volumes and some have daily limits. Consider separating marketing and transactional messages on separate IP addresses.
    • Keep an eye on engagement metrics (complaints, read-rates, deleted-rates), which are used in deliverability decisions.

Legislation:
This usually applies if you’re sending to subscribers in the country, so don’t assume that because you’re based elsewhere that you’re exempt from these requirements:

  • US
    • The CAN-SPAM law applies to all commercial messages. Each email that violates the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000 per recipient
  • Germany
    • The Federal Data Protection Law of 2009 requires double opt-in. You must record the opt-in confirmation details (the full email).
  • Canada
    • The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL for short) came into effect on July 1, 2014.
    • Express (or explicit) permission is preferred.
    • Implied permission is OK, but it expires two years after the data was originally collected.
    • Proof of consent should be stored.
  • Australia
    • The Spam Act came into effect on December 12, 2003.
    • Consent is a must for sending emails.
    • The commercial email must contain the sender’s identification.
    • Include a functional unsubscribe link.
  • Spain
    • Consent is needed to receive electronic commercial communications.
    • Opt out is considered valid for communication relating to first party products.
    • Opt-in is required when communications relate to third party product or services or product and services other than those initially requested by the customer.
  • Italy
  • UK
    • See the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directives) Regulations.
    • Specific consent required prior to sending communications.
    • Consent also required if sending third party content in your emails.

Since the world has now become a global village, practices are mostly similar around the world. But individuals still want to be considered unique and different from others and, hence, when they’re giving you personal information, they are expecting you to make use of it in a way to benefit them and establish a valuable relationship with them

So if you’re mailing to an international audience, follow best practice advice, get consent, and allow them to unsubscribe when they no longer want to hear from you. Remember that you’re communicating with individuals. Send them email that they expect and want to receive. Maybe there aren’t that many differences after all—the ground rule applies globally!

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